The supplier of indoor drone show technology has previously had its drones featured in a variety of shows including in Cirque du Soleil’s PARAMOUR.
Using Stage FlyerTM drones, which can fly dressed in a costume, the company has already performed around 400 live shows amounting to 7,000 separate autonomous flights.
Detroit-based Fontinalis Partners are joined in the investment round by Kittyhawk, California’s Airbus Ventures and the Tokyo-based Sony Innovation Fund.
The funding will be used to expand into the ever-growing drone entertainment market – particularly in the USA. However Cheever, co-founder and partner at Fontinalis, also sees a broader potential for Verity’s technology.
“Verity has assembled an exceptional team, with credibility, valuable intellectual property and extensive technical know-how, all while building a fast-growing business in the live-events market,” said Cheever.
Our firm was founded to invest in and help scale the world's best mobility technologies, and what Verity has developed has broad applicability beyond entertainment, in the drone industry and in many commercial contexts - @fontinalis_fp Click To Tweet
Verity Studios, assembled in 2014 by Professor Raffaello D’Andrea from ETH Zurich’s Flying Machine Arena team, brings together 15 years experience in the creation of live event drones.
In 2017 they launched their Synthetic SwarmTM drone system which allows a large number of LuciesTM microdrones to perform precisely choreographed drone light shows.
In their four years performing drone light shows, they have pushed the edge of creative drone technology, and thrilled audiences in over 20 countries.
As well as performing with Cirque du Soleil, Verity’s autonomous drone swarms have also appeared at Madison Square Garden, on Princess Cruises, and even with renowned rock band, Metallica.
D’Andrea originally co-founded Boston-based Kiva Systems, which was later acquired by Amazon in 2012 and is now known as Amazon Robotics.
“We worked hard to identify the right investors who share our vision for Verity,” said D’Andrea, an expert in robotics and artificial intelligence.
Investment in Verity also resonates strongly with the Sony Innovation Fund, who are dedicated to nurturing innovative startups.
“Entertainment is a large field, and there is much to do in this sector. Where entertainment meets technology is a very important area for Sony, and we invested because we found Verity’s vision, team and execution to be of exceptional quality,” said Gen Tsuchikawa, Chief Investment Manager at Sony Innovation Fund.
Matthieu Repellin, investment partner at Airbus Ventures said they were impressed with the quality of Verity’s drone tech.
“The failsafe technologies developed by Verity’s exceptional team were the main trigger for our investment,” said Matthieu Repellin, investment partner, Airbus Ventures. “We are delighted and determined to support Verity in making this technology widely available.”
“I am excited to be involved in Verity, a true pioneer in the drone industry,” commented Sebastian Thrun, CEO of Kitty Hawk and co-founder of Udacity, Google X and Google’s self-driving car team. “I’ve seen the Verity team go from strength to strength and I look forward to being part of its future growth.”
In addition to the funding, Fontinalis co-founder Chris Cheever and Kittyhawk’s Thrun will join Verity Studio’s board of directors.